Thursday, May 24, 2018

Event Designer Focus: Amy Osaba

Last week we had the pleasure to have a little one-on-one with the lovely Amy Osaba from Amy Osaba Design to gain perspective on the current trends and elements she’s seeing in the floral and wedding industries. Thinking professional ballet would be her long-lasting career, Amy felt she had brought her dream to fruition after a ten year tenure and decided to move back home to Georgia. She met her husband and started having babies, and was lucky to stay home with them for five years. When her then-husband lost his job, Amy decided to take her side hobby of playing with flowers for small events for friends to a local bridal show. It was there that a few leads came about as her non-traditional take on flower arrangements was among the first in the Southeast. She then curated arrangements for an event at AmericasMart where an interior decorator noticed her designs and asked her to create some florals for a client’s party at their home. This event created quite a buzz for Amy and was a great foundation for her business to start branching out. A means to support her family, something she is proud to have accomplished through her work, Amy Osaba Design came to life.

One of Amy's designs in our Chelsea Vase ; Photography by Wesley & Emma Photography





















AD: There are so many wedding trends. Which one is currently your favorite?
AO: I am absolutely thrilled that color is back! People are newly not afraid to push the envelope. We are getting a chance to explore more with designs, create interesting installation and add some fun touches to each event. I have noticed, since Kate Middleton’s wedding, that brides are leaning towards smaller, more natural bouquets. Which is more feminine in my opinion – textural yet dainty. Pinterest is obviously very popular. I don’t really look at it – not intentionally – I just don’t have the time! However, I do look at Instagram. I just think that the client and the venue lend themselves to certain things. I feel like Pinterest creates a lot of copying one another versus reimagining in the design process. When it comes to our design process we very much allow the room to dictate the flow of arrangements. We typically do three different designs within a room – something low and low, a little three-piece vignette – possibly mixing candlelight and florals, and then something taller, making more of a statement – branching blossoms that lifts your eyes up in the room. As far as vessels go, we are seeing a modern twist on pieces whether it’s glass or acrylic. Lots of taper candleholders but going away from brass vintage look that has been so popular. A lot more industrial clean lines and lots of gold! A trend that’s been a big game changer for vendors is the concept of a 'first look'. It mixes up the flow of the day but I actually like it because it’s so intimate and really allows for the couple to have a privative moment together.

AD: What’s a current trend that you’re "over"?
AO: Neutrals. They’re never going to go out of style - it’s safe and clean. I’m just not as excited about it, the whole blush and bashful look. I love to play with color and it can still be just as elegant to use color.

AD: In your professional opinion, what elements are brides not spending enough time / effort?
AO: There are plenty of ways to add a little fun to your wedding day and make it stand out among the rest. For instance, your escort card display – brides try to save money there and don’t realize that there’s a lot of opportunity to do something unique and interesting for your guests. You can create an escort card installation that doubles as a gift for your guests. One time, we proposed to a bride who was having her ceremony at dusk on this little lake peninsula where her guests had to walk down a path to get to and from the ceremony and reception sites to use lanterns as escort cards which would also lend light as they’re walking! It makes for a cool guest experience and was very practical! I also love a conversational piece – possibly artwork or something – that’s a reflection of you and allows your guests to know you better. When it comes to d├ęcor, I think it’s worth splurging on linens. If you have bad linens – people notice. Also, I think it’s really important to have a great planner. Someone who has your back and makes sure your vision comes to life!

Stunning floral installation by Amy ; Photography by Natalie Watson Photography


AD: Alternatively, where can a bride get the best bang for her buck?
AO: I do not itemize our proposals or list out specific flowers for that reason. When a bride shows you a $40k wedding but $10k budget – you have use her vision as inspiration knowing, as the professional, that certain flowers / certain seasons really dictate a floral budget. I aim to create quiet and impactful moments using their inspiration. My design process is not throwing a bunch of flowers everywhere. Much like music, you have to have rests to appreciate the moment. Wow factors and big florals are great but it’s nice to have smaller moments with candles, etc. which is a great way to save money and keeps things interesting!

AD: How does having a bride set on an idea affect your process?
AO: One great thing about Instagram is that clients are exposed to our aesthetic and generally like our style - but it’s better for someone to trust me versus being dead set on a certain flower. I aim for the most amount of flowers for least amount of money. I know the look they’re going for and I pay attention to what’s happening in the flower market (like a stock market!) and make sure we aren’t overspending on a certain flower especially if they’ve had a bad growing season or something. I use a tiered system when creating arrangements – filler flowers that are generally less expensive with some greenery, then add in some textural more expensive flowers, and popping in a few showpieces to finish off the look.

Photography by M.K. Sadler

AD: Let’s chat spring weddings. When you think about “spring weddings” what ultimately comes to mind?
AO: Hot. Heat. Just kidding! But you totally have to take that into consideration, especially in Georgia!! Heat plays a huge role with what kind of flowers I can use, etc.

AD: Based off your aesthetic are spring weddings your preferred season?
AO: I actually love fall. I love rich moody tones and darker palettes. I love the overall emotion it evokes. Don’t get me wrong, I love spring. I just feel that you can create something a little more unexpected with fall hues.

Our Antique White Pot ; Photography by Jose Villa

AD: What Accent Decor Pieces do you and your team like to work with?
AO: That’s a tough question to answer! Since I live in Alpharetta we are always ordering Accent Decor – literally almost every week! There's a smoked glass piece, the Embrace Collection, that we use a lot because we can mix candles and flowers together for interesting low centerpieces. Mixing light and florals is key to keeping things interesting. We use a lot of votives [Razoul Votive] and lanterns [Stanley Lantern].We love vessels that have clean straight lines so that your focus is on the flowers. We love how the [Highball Vases] allow for us to create unique and interesting arrangements. As far as ceramics go, we have had great fun with the Newport Collection, especially the bowls, and the Sanctuary Urn when a bride wants a more rustic look.

AD: Do you have a favorite wedding? Or any great stories from working with a client?
AO: In the last couple of years, we’ve had a few really fun, trusting couples who we’ve actually become friends with! They had the budget, wanted to go all out, and were looking for cool & different elements for their big day. Lauren & Fred got married at the Foundry and really gave us full creative direction for their industrial modern wedding. It was all white on white one white monochromatic with gold accents. It was a really fun one to dream up! Last year, we did a wedding in Nashville for a couple we’ve become quite close with! We created an amazing escort card table for them with this amazing Meredith Mejerle wallpaper and then repurposed the print on the dance floor – that was an awesome concept to create!

One of Amy's creations in our Harlow Stand (spray painted gold)


AD: Any tips / advice for budding new florists?
AO: In our workshops I generally say it’s super important to really understand pricing and your value. This is a big thing for me. I feel like what happens is that they start off in their careers and emotionally price. They low ball some of their prices because they don’t feel like they’re established enough to charge more. It kind of dumbs down the whole industry. I’m a big believer that there’s enough work to go around. Even for those who have worked under me and go do their own thing – I’m excited for them! This leads to young designers being underpriced and overworked. A creative person doesn’t always understand the business principals. I wish that I had understood this earlier in my career: the bottom line and how to run a profitable business. It’s not just the flowers: it’s the gas to get you places, helpers, the van you use to lug everything around, and of course, the time it take- intangibles we forget to put price on.
Last bit would be… Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you admire. We’re all human. We’ve all been at a starting point in our career. The worst thing they can say is, no.

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